Ground could be broken within two years on the initial phase of what will eventually become a 15-acre biosciences technology park at the nonprofit Lundquist Institute, located on the county’s Harbor-UCLA Medical Center campus near Torrance.
Officials at the former LABio Med see the technology park as the final element to complement existing facilities on the site, including a business incubator called BioLabs at The Lundquist Institute. It opened last year and is now home to more than 20 life-science startup companies.
A long-term lease for the biotechnology park was unanimously approved this week by the L.A> County Board of Supervisors.
Development of the biotech park will enable The Lundquist Institute to take the next step and provide a “home for the full cycle of innovation” from an idea generated in its labs, to startup company at the incubator and finally a permanent home for mature companies at the tech park, institute President and CEO David Meyer said in a press release.
“We can now move full speed ahead on creating a campus that provides bioscience innovations a soup-to-nuts opportunity all on one 72-acre campus, from the medical center, to the research institute, to our bioscience incubator, and finally, the tech park,” he said. “This campus will be a hub for innovation.”
Initially, three buildings with a combined 250,000-square-feet of space will be built on about 8 acres of the northwest corner of the hospital campus with state of the art laboratory, manufacturing and office space, county officials said in a report to the supervisors.
Several World War II-era barracks will be demolished and the county offices and workers housed in them moved elsewhere at the institute’s expense to make room for the new buildings at the intersection of Carson Street and Normandie Avenue.
Potential developers are already being screened.
The Los Angeles-area tech park is seen as a competitor to similar hubs in La Jolla or the Bay Area. Grouping world class facilities in a central location will provide the county with “an entirely new capacity” to attract biotechnology companies that would usually go elsewhere, the institute said.
“I have long been a proponent of establishing a bioscience hub in Los Angeles and this is concrete and catalytic progress to realize that dream,” said county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, whose district includes West Carson, the official name of the unincorporated county area between Carson and Torrance where the medical center campus is located.
The nationally recognized, 68-year-old institute’s discoveries have included the first government-approved treatment for sickle cell anemia in more than two decades. More than 100 scientists are conducting over 600 research studies on its campus, which takes up 11 acres on the medical center site.